Komninos Zervos + Artec Residency

Komninos Zervos was ANAT’s first Artist In Residence at Artec in London.

Cyber Poetry Underground, 1997

Cyber Poetry Underground, 1997

Komninos is well known in Australia as one of our foremost poets who works in performance. Since his attendance at ANAT’s National Summer School in Brisbane in 1995, he has increasingly incorporated technology into not only in his performance based works, but also into the interpretation and presentation of his poetry. He also recently received an honourable mention at the Ars Electronica Festival for his seminal Cyberpoetry web site.

Artec is a London based organisation which develops innovative and experimental uses of digital communications media and is committed to the creative application of digital technologyto provide new tools and channels for communication. Artec encourages critical debate about the cultural impact of new technology and provides access to training and production facilities, within a strong framework of an equal opportunities policy.

Its programs include the production of CDROM work, artists’ residencies, developing multimedia in museums and galleries, education and internet projects. Artec assisted Komninos by providing him with access to their ‘community’as well as providing him with resources, server space, curatorial backup and contacts.

The project was a follow on from the Virogenesis project which ANAT had run over 1995 and 1996, bringing UK and Italian artists to Australia. Graham Harwood, who works at Artec, visited Australia as part of this project in late 1995. ANAT has continued to liaise with Artec since this visit. Artec, like ANAT, is very keen to foster international collaborations.

During his residency, Komninos developed a CDROM of his cyberpoetry, as well as establishing links with UK performance poets. He has recently been performing cyberpoetry with a video projector and carrying out “performance essays” which are fusions of theory, performance and cyberpoetry.

Reporting from Artec, he wrote: “Leaving an Australian summer to embrace a European Winter may not be everyone’s idea of a good time but that is what I have chosen to do by accepting this residency at Artec in London. Admittedly I’ve had to spend a lot of my time”underground” moving from place to place.

“I am authoring a CDROM journey featuring some previously produced cyberpoems and some new text animations inspired by London. The journey is using as its general metaphor, the tube, and I’m calling it “cyberpoetry underground”.

“Virtual Reality text panoramas of Heathrow, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Russell Square and Manor House lead on to the content, the cyberpoems, the characters of the various tube destinations determining the kinds of cyberpoems interactivists will encounter, e.g. piccadilly > eros > themes of love, leicester square > cinemas, dance clubs > music stores > cyberpoems with rhythm, narrative cyberpoems, etc.

“I am trying to keep presentation of text in the traditional format (two dimensional, sentences, on lines, in paragraphs) to a minimum, and wherever words are experienced they are in a three dimensional space or kinetic state. Having people around, to consult, to discuss, to argue with, is making my task of learning new software and applying it a lot easier. Unfortunately I am not able to participate as much as I would like to in performances and get togethers outside Artec.

The opportunities for networking are immense and London is a gateway to Europe. I’m starting to realise just how close Australian artists are to the pace, computer communications has definitely wiped any cultural lag we may have experienced in the past, and Australians no longer have the excuse of being separated by distance. Still you have to leave a nice sunny back deck and put on your thermal underwear, scarves and beanies to realise these things sometimes.”


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